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Summer 2019 Preview

Even though I’m pretty sure we still have one good snow storm on the horizon, on paper, it appears that  summer just around the corner. While this means trips to the beach, days out at the ballpark, and yard games galore, it also means that another summer movie season is upon us. While I am looking forward to blockbusters like GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (May 31), ROCKETMAN (May 31), THE LION KING (JULY 19), and THE KITCHEN (AUGUST 9), the three films below rest securely at the top of my list.

TOY STORY 4

(Opening June 21)

If there is any chance of a film coming close to the numbers that the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to do at the box office this summer, there is no doubt that it will be TOY STORY 4. The latest venture from Pixar brings back (arguably) the most iconic characters from their catalog (with the possible exception of the FINDING NEMO crew) and there’s little doubt that folks will come out in droves.

Though it certainly doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the franchise is getting another installment, I thought that the third film ended on such a perfectly sweet, emotionally draining (yet beautifully rewarding) note, that there really was no point in heading back to the land where Pixar began. At the same time, Buzz, Woody, Rex, Ham, Jessie, and their pals are so endearing, and so familiar and welcome, that it’s a joyous surprise to know that we’ll get to see them once again.

The introductions of new characters worked in TOY STORY 2 (Jessie, Bullseye, Stinky Pete) and Toy Story 3 (Lotso and Ken) and it looks like there’s going to be a number of additions this time around as well. New cast members include Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, and Jordan Peele (among others) and it will be entertaining to see how they all fit in with the litany familiar favorites. What’s particularly interesting, is that the TOY STORY brand has traveled well beyond the realm of mere family entertainment. The audience is no longer a collection of kids and the parents who tag along, but a sampling of all ages and demographics who show no shame in letting their laughter bellow, and their tears flow.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR AWAY FROM HOME

(Opening July 2)

We are only a few months removed from witnessing the devastating events of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, and as this article goes to print, the blockbuster is still raking in the cash at the box office. Standing as one of the biggest movie events in the history of the medium, you would think it would be difficult for any comic-book adventure to follow in its footsteps.

Though the future of a few Marvel Cinematic Universe characters is certainly in question, there’s little doubt that Spidey will still be flying high. Standing as arguably the most beloved character in the MCU, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is a likable, hilarious, relatable superhero who, along with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, likely stands as the future of the studio.

With the intriguing addition of Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, FAR FROM HOME will give us our first glimpse of the aftermath of INFINITY WAR, and will certainly provide an indication of where the MCU goes from here. It will also test the public’s interest in the continuation of the Marvel saga. While I doubt that SPIDER-MAN will do AVENGERS numbers at the box-office, I do believe that it has a shot to be the biggest hit of the summer, and will help solidify young Holland as a top-notch Hollywood talent.

ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD

(Opening July 26)

Though it seems almost impossible to fathom, as of this October, it will have been 25 years since PULP FICTION was originally released. The incredible, groundbreaking, staggeringly entertaining film not only emerged as one of the greatest films of all time, but established Quentin Tarantino as an instant legend. His first film, RESERVOIR DOGS, was phenomenal in its own right, and then subsequent ventures such as KILL BILL VOLUMES 1 & 2, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, and DJANGO UNCHAINED further cemented his status as a fearless, auteur filmmaker who defied conventions and obliterated boundaries.

Initially rumored to be Tarantino’s “Charles Manson film,” early indications point to a much more subversive experience that explores the Hollywood Golden Age that came to an abrupt end in the late 1960’s. Though the heinous crimes perpetrated by Manson’s family is a specter that hangs over the story, much of the film follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) an aging TV star who still longs to find success, and Dalton’s stunt double and pal Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt.) The story of the two friends converge with the grim and sordid tale of Dalton’s next door neighbor, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie).    

Any Tarantino film immediately becomes one of the most anticipated productions of the year, and this one is certainly no exception. With the promise of dramatics, humor, and horror, it is bound to be original and controversial, as each and every one of his previous films has been. A true artist whose unparalleled productions tread the fine line between B-grade and brilliance, Tarantino is a Mount Rushmore candidate with cinematic style to spare.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.